Search This Blog

Friday, March 22, 2013

158: THE SACRIFICE OF ALL EARTHLY THINGS


"Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life."
Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith 6:7


The way in which we gain faith is by making sacrifices, faith is obtained in no other way. The Ancients were examples of this kind of sacrifice which produces faith. The kind of faith like Abraham means that we have to put ourself into God’s hands and do what God wants us to do, no matter what, no matter how painful, no how much we may dislike it, or wish that cup might be removed from us.  The purpose of making sacrifices is to obtain faith, and the purpose of obtaining faith is so that we can then make even greater sacrifice, and the purpose of the greater sacrifices is so that we can obtain greater faith, and the purpose of obtaining greater faith is so that we are prepared then to make greater sacrifice still until at last we are prepared to lay everything, our own life not spared on the altar in order to do what the Lord would have us do, no matter how much we may not want to do what the Lord would have us do.

So that, nothing doubting, we are approved of God and doing as He would have us do. Everything else is incidental to that process, everything else. Therefore, the final purpose of sacrifice is to know God. Because that is only way that anyone including the Ancients obtained the faith necessary to know God. No one is going to Them and Their Glory until they have like manner made the same sacrifice in order to obtain the same faith that allowed them to be what the Lord would have them be. And part of that process involves being completely misunderstood, rejected, despised by people who ought to know better. And then, being tempted to step to the left or to the right on a path that is intended to only be strait and narrow. And its every bit of it requires you to focus on one and only One Thing. Jesus Christ. That is what the Lord would have you do and be, nothing else, and not to try and make more or less what He would have you do...

12 comments:

  1. Sorry. The committee who wrote Lectures on Faith and you are off on this one. The Lord gave the LAST GREAT sacrifice, and will no longer accept our sacrifices... Only a broken heart, etc. is expected. This is very clear in the Book of Mormon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1) The sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit is the humility to do whatever God says, exactly as the author of this post implies.

      2) You should acquaint yourself with the book "Words of Joseph Smith." On 5 Oct 1840, and several other occasions, Joseph said: "And God said unto Noah the end of all flesh is before me, for the earth is
      filled with violence through them, and behold I will destroy them with the earth," thus we behold the
      Keys of this priesthood consisted in obtaining the voice of Jehovah 19 that he talked with him in a
      familiar and friendly manner, that he continued to him the Keys, the Covenants, the power and the glory
      with which he blessed Adam at the beginning and the offring of Sacrifice which also shall be continued
      at the last time, for all the ordinances and duties that ever have been required by the priesthood under the
      direction and commandments of the Almighty in the last dispensation at the end thereof in any of the
      dispensations, shall all be had in the last dispensation. 20 Therefore all things had under the Authority of
      the Priesthood at any former period shall be had again—bringing to pass the restoration spoken of by
      the mouth of all the Holy Prophets. Malachi 3 then shall the sons of Levi offer unto the Lord an
      acceptable offring" then shall the sons of Levi offer an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord Se[e] Malichi 3
      Chap. 3 & 4 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of Silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and
      purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord
      It will be necessary here to make a few observations on the doctrine, set forth in the above quotation, As
      it is generally supposed that Sacrifice was entirely done away when the great sacrife was offered up—
      and that there will be no necessity for the ordinance of Sacrifice in future, but those who assert this, are
      certainly not aquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the priesthood. or with the prophets
      The offering of Sacrifice has ever been connected and forms a part of the duties of the priesthood. It
      began with the prieshood and will be continued untill after the coming of Christ from generation to
      generation—We freequently have mention made of the offering of Sacrifice by the servants of the most
      high in antient days prior to the law of moses, See 21 which ordinances will be continued when 22 the
      priesthood is restored with all its authority power and blessings. Elijah was the last prophet that held the
      keys of this priesthood, and who will, 23 before the last dispensation, restore the authority and delive[r]
      the Keys of this priesthood in order that all the ordinances may be attended to in righteousness."

      Therefore, blood sacrifice will also be restored prior to the Lord's return.

      Delete
    2. Q: Where in the Book of Mormon does it talk about "dispensations?"
      A: It doesn't. The term came from the Catholics, and we (the "Church") commandeered it and made our own version of the word. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dispensation_(Catholic_Church) We wanted to show that the "authority" came through who we said it did (our line, not theirs). The concept of dispensations as we define it is not even mentioned in the B of M. Curious.

      I realize that Pontius, Snuffer and others are all about "obedience" to the will of God. But I don't buy the idea that there is a God that sits around giving us marching orders through the Holy Ghost. I recognize that the Lord has offered to change our hearts (and the desires). When that happens, there is no need for us to sacrifice everything and ask God to command us in all things. The desires of our hearts lead the way, and everything else falls into place.

      The sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit is simply a willingness to look at a different MO... one that doesn't entail all these performances, rites, ordinances and sacrifices. It's to dump all of these idols and simply believe that we are welcome in His house, if we will believe it.

      Delete
    3. (continued)
      The broken heart sacrifice is exemplified by the father of King Lamoni: "I will give away all my sins to know thee." In other words, "I will dump all of this junk I think I know."

      What is always asked of these converts in the Book of Mormon? "Do you believe?" Are you willing to look at it another way?

      We think we know everything about "the gospel," even if we are so-called "seekers." I will tell you that I hardly know anything. Hopefully, the Lord will be merciful and provide some understanding at some point. Until then, I'll do my best to avoid making assumptions.

      Delete
    4. There is nothing wrong with your approach. You have a hypothesis. What has your experiment yielded?

      Through following the gospel as revealed anew through Joseph Smith (which includes as a central thesis this idea of obedience to God via the Holy Ghost) Snuffer, Pontius, myself, and several others I know have obtained an audience with Christ.

      Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by a preacher (according to Paul). According to Alma, God grants witnesses in order that the residue might come unto him. You have the witness of the scriptures, Joseph Smith, and at least 3 contemporary men. If you have not received these experiences, I commend to you our collective witness and promise you the same results.

      Delete
    5. You presume that I am conducting experiments so that the end result will be an audience with Christ. For those who have accomplished this through exact obedience, I say, "Good for you!" But this is not what I'm after. What good does meeting with the Lord do for the Remnant of Israel who are currently "dwindling in unbelief?" How will being a proud member of the I Know Christ Club bring the Gentiles out of captivity and open up the sealed books which contain the fullness of the Lord's Gospel? Where is our charity for them in this process? Great, so you have some assurances that you and several others will speedily come to the kingdom of God (or whatever your assurances are). I'm glad there are people who do. I'm glad there is still light in this world.

      But you asked what my experiments have yielded. These are the fruits I see (and please correct me if I'm wrong):
      * No additional records have come to the Gentiles (Plates of Nephi, Book of the Lamb, sealed portion of the Brother of Jared's vision, the Brass Plates, etc.)
      * Gentiles not seeking the Remnant of Israel or being nurturing fathers and mothers to them
      * Gentiles still in captivity to the Great and Abominable Church
      * Gentiles still using their "talent" (the gift of the Holy Ghost) for their own selfish purposes, advancing their own "authority" and agenda, hiding their counsels from the Lord

      I believe that you and the others have received what you have. But I don't see any of the fruit promised from the Book of Mormon as a result of it. In fact, all I hear is a commendation to go after what you obtained, doing it "your way." Neither Denver nor John (I don't know you or the others) have put any sort of emphasis on looking to find the seed of Lehi who are suffering, or any of the "Jews" or the scattered House of Israel. If seeking the Lord for my own sake pulls my heart away from His other sheep like it seems to have done with those who have had the audience, then I want nothing to do with it. You can have your exclusive club, because I'm probably not qualified or worthy to enter.

      In time, I'll meet with the Lord too, at His convenience. I don't care if that is in this life or the next. I believe and accept His gospel as I understand it. That is sufficient for me. The desire of my heart is elsewhere. I let that drive me, not obedience to every word He dictates so that I can see Him.

      Delete
    6. I can assure you that what Joseph said about this was true: "A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." I can assure you that it is true. I suspect that Snuffer and Pontius' ministry is evidence of their effort to do just that. No one wants to talk about these things. It is an exceeding burden.

      People seem to fail to realize that redemption cannot come through any other means but through Christ. That IS the gospel. Love of others is most highly expressed by doing what you can to extend that opportunity to them.

      Those fruits are evident in the Book of Mormon. Consider how many examples we have of folks leaving everything to go and preach to the most hostile people. It happens again and again.

      And, of course, anyone's efforts are delimited by what Christ calls them (authorizes them) to do. Consider how many pious, humble people were not given the opportunity to bring forth the Book of Mormon, for example.

      "Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me." (D&C 97:8)

      You SHOULD care if it is in this life or the next. Although he will come when he chooses, that event is tied to salvation. It is wrong to imagine that this event is somehow separated from the fruits you describe in the scriptures. It is impossible for the Spirit NOT to command those on the path to do the things you describe, inasmuch as they can as individuals.

      Coming unto Christ isn't a physical path that somehow takes you to a physical destination. It is a character refining process that makes you like him. How could anyone who emulates Christ have his/her heart pulled away from God's children? Did not Christ say that the second great commandment was to love others as you love yourself? And also that even the first commandment, loving God, is exercised by loving your fellow man?

      Delete
    7. We could be "violently agreeing" on some of the things you're saying.

      But here are my points:
      1) If you look at the Book of Mormon folks who left everything to go and preach to the most hostile people, in every case it was the desire of their hearts. They wanted to do it. What you are telling me is that for you it is "an exceeding burden." Denver says that he does not like speaking or writing books, but does it because he is commanded to. Please tell me what fruits I am supposed to see here. And what would be better... to have the Lord change my heart so that my desires are His, and I do His work with the creative energy of the Holy Ghost (which is abundant for the Gentiles); or that I live life giving up things I love, waiting to be told what to do (begrudgingly at times), and obey as a compensation for an audience with Him?

      2) I am not seeking for Christ to come to me personally and tell me that I have received salvation, because I believe Him when He says that His grace is sufficient. While it is true that I am at His mercy, I will not deny that mercy by having it hang on some "event" or performance. As far as I can tell, all performances were done away (fulfilled) in Him. Now He asks that we simply clear out all the junk and believe Him. I can do that. If He wants to claim me in a ceremony, I'm all for it, but that's His thing, not mine.

      3) You asked about experiments. I am always looking around to see what fruit has come from the Church and these authors. If the Book of Mormon is telling us to seek a personal audience with Christ, then it is embedded quite deeply in the text and difficult for the casual reader to see. What IS very clear, though, is that the Gentiles are to repent and seek to bring the records to the Remnant of Israel. There is no evidence of the Church or Denver/John/you admonishing us to do that. The focus is on salvation for ourSELVES. You may argue that once we secure our own salvation, then we will be commanded to go after the records and Israel. Okay, I can consider that. Please show me the records. Surely someone has made it to the point where they are ready to receive them.

      I don't buy into the idea that faith is doing something we're commanded to do and hoping it will all work out. Or that faith is believing something a person with authority or experience tells us, without having any sort of proof of it. Faith to me is asking questions, looking for evidence, getting the witnesses and choosing to believe the proof submitted (where unbelief is an option as well). The commission to the Gentiles is to repent and seek the fullness of Christ's gospel, which he taught in Bountiful. That is very clear in the B of M. The process of sacrificing brought up by this blog and you does not address the calling for the Gentiles at all. Our hearts are still on our own salvation, our own seat at the Lord's table. Why can't we believe that it is already available, and received by simply accepting it? I have evidence that this is the case and choose to believe what I have been shown. My desires dictate my actions, and I desire nothing more than see the Lord fulfilling His promises given to the House of Israel.

      Delete
  2. Is it only men that ever get an audience with Jesus Christ?

    ReplyDelete
  3. FWIW, I don't believe John Pontius ever claimed to have received an audience with Christ.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @ Anonymous you should sacrifice all of your money for the poor. You will be shocked, you really will, on how more blessed you will be. Don't whine, just do it. Then you will recognize that God is really there, it will confirm everything you read in the scriptures.

    ReplyDelete